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New Electoral Reality Makes Our Community a Target of a Different Kind

December 10, 2012
I wrote this piece for the Harvard Kennedy School newspaper , where I am a mid-career MPA student. Last year I took a break from community organizing after a heartbreaking loss of the DREAM Act in 2010. As I take this year to read and reflect, I can feel myself pulled back into the fight, especially with so much recent talk about immigration reform being back on the table for 2013. Republicans are falling over themselves to show that they are ready to be a new kind of party, one that will appeal to the growing bloc of Latino and Asian voters that voted overwhelmingly to re-elect the president...
Marissa Graciosa's picture

Immigrant Women Strengthen Our Economy -- and Our Country

December 10, 2012
As a lifelong human rights activist, I’ve never been afraid of controversy. But saying that immigrant women are good for our economy—good for our country —isn’t controversial. It’s common sense. Immigrant women are job creators. They are innovators and entrepreneurs who strengthen our national economy . In fact, women run 40% of all immigrant-owned businesses in the United States. They pay taxes that fix potholes in our roads and keep books on our school’s shelves. They raise families that put money back into the communities we share—at the supermarket, at restaurants, at the dry cleaners. So...
Mallika Dutt's picture

Immigration Reform is Critical for the Health of California and the Country

December 10, 2012
The landmark health reform law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), is a tremendous starting point for improving the health of communities of color in California and across the country. But to truly achieve lasting progress in the fight against health disparities, we need comprehensive reform of our immigration policies. As advocates, we should celebrate the ACA and be active during its implementation so that everyone who’s eligible for coverage are enrolled in coverage. However, the ACA also highlights the importance of changing the way we as a nation approach immigration...
Ellen Wu's picture

Immigration Reform Picture Not Complete Unless It Includes the Face of Women

December 10, 2012
“Many people cross to seek riches, a truck, a new house, but mothers need to be with their children out of necessity. I am only crossing to see my daughter again, nothing more.” – Maria President Obama recently announced that immigration reform will be a top priority in his second term. As comprehensive immigration reform begins to take shape at long last, it is imperative that we see the face of immigrants for who they really are. According to a Pew Hispanic Research study released this spring, total illegal immigration from Mexico has drastically fallen, but 46% of immigrants still coming...
Kate Kelly's picture

Sacrifice at Sea

December 10, 2012
When I was 12, my cousins arrived to this country for the first time from Vietnam. They were all my age, 12 and 13, and they were sent by their parents to pave the way for the rest of their family to come. What that means is that they were given the responsibility of obtaining an education, getting a job, and then saving enough money to sponsor more family members from Vietnam or to help support family members living in extreme poverty in Vietnam. They were the hope for the future health of our family between two shores separated by a massive body of water. They were part of the wave of “boat...
Jora Trang's picture

When I Cast My Ballot on Election Day, I Voted for Human Rights

December 10, 2012
( Photo Credit : Amnesty International USA) As the challenges facing human rights progress are vast, it is crucially important to acknowledge victories that bring us closer to a world where human rights are a reality for all. The passage of the Maryland Dream Act manifested our belief that education is something that we value, and that immigrant families deserve the same opportunities as everyone else. It was our chance to say 'yes' to an initiative that moved the state of immigrant rights in the United States forward. Yes to the right to education, yes to fairness. When the Maryland Dream...
Jiva Manske's picture

A Hope for DREAM

December 10, 2012
Child advocates have fought for years against the deportation of promising undocumented students. A bill in Congress to recognize them has failed before, but new action on the Hill gives us hope. The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors, or DREAM, Act is a bill to protect from deportation undocumented students who have kept clean records and were brought into the United States when they were very young. It had been proposed and denied for years in Congress, and last year suffered another setback. Recently, Republicans introduced an alternative to the DREAM Act, called the...
Jacquelyn L. Lendsey's picture

South Asians Say It Loud: Fix the Immigration System Now

December 10, 2012
Like so many others in the United States, I am a product of the American immigration system. I was twelve when my mother and brother took a long plane ride from Kerala (India) to Kentucky to join my father. We had been separated for a year from him as he navigated the Immigration and Naturalization Service as it was known at the time, and prepared to bring us over. Bleary-eyed and tired when we arrived, I remember going to our new home, an apartment in the suburbs, and having my first taste of pizza. My immigrant experience was for the most part a privileged and mundane one – especially in...
Deepa Iyer's picture

The POWER Act: Protecting the Most Vulnerable from Corporate Exploitation

December 10, 2012
Immigrant workers across this country face a distinct threat: unscrupulous employers intimidate or retaliate against them if they complain about illegal working conditions. Employers actually have an incentive to recruit foreign workers because they can exploit this vulnerability to underpay and mistreat them. A shipping company called Signal International is a perfect example. In 2006, they lured more than 500 guest workers here from India under the H-2B temporary guest worker program to repair oil rigs after Hurricane Katrina. Workers were promised green cards for themselves and their...
Congresswoman Judy Chu's picture

Still Waiting for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Civil and Human Rights Activists Organize to Fight Anti-Immigrant State Laws

December 10, 2012
There is renewed hope that comprehensive immigration reform will now be possible in Washington, D.C., following the November election that saw Latino and Asian American voters turning out in record numbers. The failure to pass comprehensive reform at the federal level has been a major disappointment made worse by states such as Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Utah and South Carolina that have passed severe measures aimed at forcing undocumented immigrants and their families to “self deport” by making life unbearable. As The Washington Post reported : Alabama’s law makes it a crime for illegal...
Catherine Han Montoya's picture